'

Benchmarking Financial Services

Our benchmark series…

Article by John Landsman CATEGORIES: Benchmarking, Trends & Analysis TAGS: ,

Our benchmark series continues with an analysis of Financial Services.  This analysis includes eight key industry sectors:  Credit Cards, Debt Elimination and Credit Reporting, Electronic Payment and Wire Services; Financial Institutions; Financial Services and Research; Insurance; Mortgages and Loans; and Real Estate.  We analyzed promotional email for about 900-1,000 related brands in these eight sectors.  (Additional methodology details can be found below.)

Benchmark data establish a bar.  If you’re a financial services email marketer, and your activity ranks beneath the best performance averages shown here, there may be considerable revenue and retention upside in identifying opportunities to replace, restructure or eliminate underperforming programs, or to alter send practices that drive poor inbox performance.

The tables below show overall read rate and inbox performance ranked best-to-worst by quartile for each quarter of 2018 and 2017, and for the first quarter of 2019.   

Highlights:

  • Average read rates run from a high of 40% for brands in the top-ranked quartile for that metric (Q1 2019), down to about 5% in the bottom quartile (Q1 2018).
  • Inbox rates range from 97% for brands in the top quartile for that metric (all quarters), down to 49% in the bottom quartile (Q1 2019).
  • Quarter-to-quarter read rate performance improves for each of the five quarters shown.
  • Read rates have consistently improved year-over-year. The strongest improvements in both metrics occur in the bottom two quartiles, where there’s the most opportunity and need for improvement.
  • Overall inbox performance is variable, but has generally eroded over the last two quarters shown, both quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year.
  • Spam rates average over 30% in the two worst performing quartiles — half the tracked brands. For the worst quartiles, that’s consistently about 45-50% or more email messaging that’s going directly to spam.  Identifying and fixing issues causing such weak performance would have an enormously positive business impact. 
2018 Q1 Key Financial Services Sectors*
Average Read Rates Average Inbox Rates Average Spam Rates
Quartile 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017
1 33.3% 34.2% 96.7% 95.9% 3.3% 4.1%
2 19.8% 19.5% 91.7% 88.6% 8.3% 11.4%
3 12.9% 11.8% 83.0% 72.0% 17.0% 28.0%
4 5.4% 4.6% 52.6% 37.3% 47.4% 62.7%
TOTAL 17.9% 16.9% 81.0% 73.6% 19.0% 26.4%
(*) 2018 - 964 brands; 2017 - 877 brands
Q2 Key Financial Services Sectors*
Average Read Rates Average Inbox Rates Average Spam Rates
Quartile 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017
1 36.1% 34.7% 96.6% 96.2% 3.4% 3.8%
2 21.1% 20.0% 91.6% 88.7% 8.4% 11.3%
3 13.4% 12.7% 81.7% 74.8% 18.3% 25.2%
4 6.0% 5.6% 50.4% 42.8% 49.6% 57.2%
TOTAL 18.8% 17.9% 79.8% 75.7% 20.2% 24.3%
(*) 2018 - 1,162 brands; 2017 - 911 brands
Q3 Key Financial Services Sectors*
Average Read Rates Average Inbox Rates Average Spam Rates
Quartile 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017
1 36.1% 36.1% 96.6% 96.9% 3.4% 3.1%
2 21.7% 20.2% 91.7% 91.7% 8.3% 8.3%
3 14.3% 12.7% 83.2% 81.6% 16.8% 18.4%
4 6.5% 5.8% 54.6% 51.5% 45.4% 48.5%
TOTAL 19.4% 18.4% 81.6% 80.4% 18.4% 19.6%
(*) 2018 - 1,138 brands; 2017 - 1,063 brands
Q4 Key Financial Services Sectors*
Average Read Rates Average Inbox Rates Average Spam Rates
Quartile 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017
1 37.0% 34.7% 96.7% 97.2% 3.3% 2.8%
2 23.0% 19.4% 91.0% 92.7% 9.0% 7.3%
3 14.8% 12.5% 79.8% 84.8% 20.2% 15.2%
4 5.9% 6.0% 48.6% 53.7% 51.4% 46.3%
TOTAL 20.1% 17.9% 79.0% 82.2% 21.0% 17.8%
(*) 2018 - 1,146 brands; 2017 - 1,063 brands
2019 Q1 Key Financial Services Sectors*
Average Read Rates Average Inbox Rates Average Spam Rates
Quartile 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018
1 40.2% 33.3% 97.7% 96.7% 2.3% 3.3%
2 24.2% 19.8% 92.2% 91.7% 7.8% 8.3%
3 16.7% 12.9% 80.8% 83.0% 19.2% 17.0%
4 9.3% 5.4% 49.0% 52.6% 51.0% 47.4%
TOTAL 22.4% 17.9% 78.9% 81.0% 21.1% 19.0%
(*) 2018 - 1,012 brands; 2017 - 964 brands

Our next Benchmark Blogpost will cover the entertainment industry.  We’ll also be publishing a full White Paper, benchmarking email performance metrics across all key industries for 2018.

Note on Methodology: Included in this analysis are promotional (as opposed to transactional and administrative; e.g., loyalty-related emails for related brands with a Projected Panel Reach of 100,000 or greater.